Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Should Tesla Make Batteries Instead of Electric Cars?

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the batteries-aren't-as-fun-to-drive dept.

Transportation 362

cartechboy writes: "Tesla seems to be doing quite well these days, but one bond trader thinks the company should quit making electric cars and focus efforts on making batteries instead. Bond manager Jeffrey Gundlach says he's already tried to meet with Elon Musk to persuade him to take the battery-only route. Speaking to Bloomberg, he said Tesla could be 'wildly transformational' in the same way electricity and electromagnets were at the advent of their discovery. Enough people are interested in Tesla's vehicles that Musk probably won't take Gundlach's advice. Should he?"

cancel ×

362 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

He probably only needs 640K in his computer, too (4, Funny)

boristdog (133725) | about 5 months ago | (#47020499)

I mean, these electric car thingys are just a fad, right?

They've been pushing this angle for a while (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020505)

The analysts are pessimistic that a newbie can outperform the established automakers. I disagree. What better way to make a market for your battery factory than proving the technology that they will be used for? This is the type of thinking that kills companies traded on Wall Street.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#47020601)

They've also been doing a great job of building the cars themselves, making it even more baffling. It's not like they were putting good batteries in crappy cars.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (3, Informative)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 5 months ago | (#47020801)

It helped that initially Lotus made most of the car. Lotus has been making cars for some time.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (0, Troll)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 5 months ago | (#47020837)

Tell me how Lotus was involved in the Model S.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (3, Informative)

Yebyen (59663) | about 5 months ago | (#47020925)

I know that Wikipedia is of course the one and only best primary source, but here goes anyway:

"Tesla produced the Roadster until January 2012, when its supply of Lotus Elise gliders ran out, as its contract with Lotus Cars for 2,500 gliders expired at the end of 2011."

So, if you're trying to say that Lotus never made parts for the Model S, fine. You're the first person to use the designation "Model S" anywhere in this thread. Tesla made other cars, before the Model S.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47021003)

Tesla poached a lot of their engineers [autoblog.com] by 2006.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#47020841)

And it's not like there's many other electric cars to put them in. The only one I can think of is the Leaf. All the other EVs out there are just conversions from gas-driven vehicles, rather than purpose-built EVs, so they end up with very compromised designs. Many of them aren't even serious vehicles at all: the automakers are just slapping them together to satisfy government regulators, to say "look! we have EVs too! But no one wants to buy them!" Yeah, no one's buying them because they suck ass. The Tesla by contrast is actually really good, so they're selling like hotcakes, since it isn't a half-assed attempt like what the other automakers are spewing out.

There was another company that tried what this dumb bond manager suggests; it was called "Ovonics". It supplied batteries to GM's EV1 electric car, which was famously ill-fated. Ovonics has disappeared now after being bought up and then shut down. I guess that's what this bond manager wants to happen to Tesla.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 months ago | (#47020943)

The thing is, nobody really builds cars anymore. They assemble them. Ford doesn't manufacture each individual piece. They take a bunch of pieces manufacturered by other firms and put them together. I think Ford still makes the engine, but other than that, a lot of the parts are made by other companies. Which was the whole reason they couldn't let GM die. It would have taken hundreds of other companies that supply the parts to them with it. Once you take out the complicated drive train of a gasoline car, and have Tesla making the batteries anyway, is it really that difficult for them to just make a car anyway? A car isn't really that complicated of a piece of machinery.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (5, Interesting)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | about 5 months ago | (#47020633)

Yeah, this is pretty laughable. I don't remember the exact figure but his battery factory (not built yet but planned) is estimated to be something like 25 to 50 percent of the current world output for these batteries; and it is expected that the battery factory will sell almost entirely, if not exclusively to his electric car operation. So this "genius" of a bond investor thinks to himself "gee, if there is such a big market for batteries he should just sell the batteries". Only problem with this line of thinking, if he quits making cars then the battery market dries up. With people like this running our economy it is little surpirse that we fell into an economic collapse, and are probably setting up the next one as we speak. Explain to me again why people like this deserve to be paid millions a year.

-AndrewBuck

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (1)

kurkosdr (2378710) | about 5 months ago | (#47020763)

Because they fund the campaign of politicians and sometimes even their private lives. Search for "friends of angelo countrywide scandal".

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020813)

To be fair these Wall Street Wizards need those millions to fund their escort and candy parties for the politicians, judges, lawyers (crooked as a liar) and their associates. Now I am not saying all lawyers are liars but it's difficult to separate the ethical from the corrupt sometimes.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 5 months ago | (#47020893)

Absolutely. It's a mistake to assume that just because 99% of lawyers are corrupt scumbags, that all lawyers are corrupt scumbags. For example, some stopped taking bribes after their funerals.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020771)

They're not "paid" in the sense of working for a salary or hourly. They're paid based on trades and how well their portfolios do. So they take a cut off the top of whatever decisions they choose to make when trading/modifying portfolios. That can also entail some heavy losses.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (2)

DarenN (411219) | about 5 months ago | (#47020811)

Well, the trader has one point - the Tesla batteries are serious tech. With the advent of many things that could use them (airliners, other electric cars, trains, etc), and the fact that current batteries are frankly shit, if Tesla batteries are that much better then they would need to build a vault to hold the piles of money that they would get. However, he has a market for the cars and they are driving the battery tech, so it would be nuts at this point. If the car making business starts to dry up, then they have a second core competency that they can keep building around.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (4, Interesting)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 5 months ago | (#47020849)

Only problem with this line of thinking, if he quits making cars then the battery market dries up.

Except that VW, BMW, GM, and others are beginning to produce cars with these batteries. If Tesla expands battery production enough they could make money not only from their own vehicle sales, but also get a cut of the profit from each of their competitors cars sold because they made the batteries.

Think like how Microsoft gets a cut of each Android device sold. "If our products sell, we win! If our competitors products sell, we win!"

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47020867)

The bizarre thing is that the obvious better solution here is to spin off the battery manufacture business.

Personally, I think the best approach here is to keep the battery manufacture in house for now (since it provides a powerful advantage over competitors) and build up electric car market share to the point where you're triggering anti-trust. Then use the spin off of the battery business as a playing chip to keep the rest of the business together.

Finally, if Musk wishes to exit this job at some point, that would be a good time to do so. He could appoint a competent successor and gradually divest himself from the business.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020993)

They don't make enough cars for that to happen. They're also operating on a $71,000,000 loss. Even their reported profit doesn't hold up to GAAP, with GAAP it shows a $30,000,000 loss. They don't even have 40,000 vehicles on the road.

7 billion estimated cell phones in the world. 420 million tablets. They don't run on positive vibes.. There's more model electric planes in the world using Lipos than there are Tesla vehicles. To suggest Tesla motors will consume most of the battery production, in a factory capable of producing 50% of the worlds supply, seems farcical at best.

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (5, Informative)

hsmith (818216) | about 5 months ago | (#47020739)

Or he could just do both, build cars and sell batteries. Plenty of car manufactures sell tech and parts to other car manufactures. So many car parts are outsourced in a vehicle it is absurd.

He is doing all right pushing his cars so far and advancing his tech, why stop doing something that is working?

Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (2)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#47020899)

More importantly even than the fact that the auto industry is full of sourcing parts from competitors is without being faced with serious competition they're unlikely to make any significant changes. If he wants electric cars to eventually become well and truly mainstream then he needs to give his thoroughly entrenched competitors a reason to manufacture them, which is to force them to build electric cars to compete.

If he goes to a batteries-only platform then he's sunk, as they'll simply not bother to buy his batteries because they just won't innovate to where they need them.

The only real danger that I see is if he's so sucessful at compelling his automaker competition to electricity that if he sells batteries to them, they push antitrust regulation against him for being a vertically-integrated monopoly that's bad for their purchasing power. That's an awful long time down the road though.

I think not... (3, Insightful)

Adam Colley (3026155) | about 5 months ago | (#47020507)

Many companies make batteries, they're all more or less the same other than the obvious size/capacity differences.

Not so many make cars like that, I'd respectfully suggest the bond manager has flipped his lid!

I think not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020621)

Probably hasn't flipped his lid, but almost certainly has an ulterior motive.

Re:I think not... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#47020651)

Sounds like he's in league with the automakers.

Re:I think not... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47020803)

Sounds like he's in league with the autodealers.

I think not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020705)

Seriously, who else are they supposed to sell those batteries to? Nissan Leafs?

Re:I think not... (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 months ago | (#47020877)

Kind of depends on whether you think this year or this decade for your horizon. I see more brands/models of electric and hybrid cars, not fewer, in the coming years.

That's not to say that you should abandon a promising car business, though. Making a product which challenges others to compete with you, and then mastering the underlying components which give you the edge makes your cars more competitive AND a second revenue stream which is funded by your competitors.

Re:I think not... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47021019)

But, it's safer to sell batteries than electric cars because of Republicans. They hate electric cars and have murdered several Prius owners. I have a Leaf, and nearly every day I get hate from their kind because I can drive in the HOV lane with a single occupant. They hate me and want me dead. The problem is that so many of those people are also so violent that they own guns. Republicans want to murder Musk for making electric cars. He would be much safer just making low margin batteries. They want him dead.

Why can't it be both? (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 5 months ago | (#47020511)

Even if Tesla becomes the best and largest car battery manufacturer in the world doesn't mean they can't make cars as well.

IMHO somebody's being paid by the other car manufacturers to steer Tesla away from making cars.

Then again, the "low-cost" electric cars sure aren't coming from Tesla any time soon, so I don't really care.

Re:Why can't it be both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020573)

Bingo. Last time I heard, he also owns a company that makes rockets too.

Re:Why can't it be both? (5, Funny)

Ranbot (2648297) | about 5 months ago | (#47020963)

Bingo. Last time I heard, he also owns a company that makes rockets too.

Clearly, SpaceX should stop building rockets and just sell rocket fuel.

Re:Why can't it be both? (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 5 months ago | (#47020613)

For the same reason existing car companies don't refine oil.

Re:Why can't it be both? (3, Informative)

profplump (309017) | about 5 months ago | (#47020649)

Tesla doesn't produce the consumable fuel (electricity), just the durable storage device. And while car manufacturers certainly might outsource a fuel tank, no one would consider it unusual for them to make their own either.

Re:Why can't it be both? (4, Insightful)

Fulminata (999320) | about 5 months ago | (#47020615)

I actually understand his point. If Tesla just makes batteries for other companies, then they don't see Tesla as competition. If Tesla's also producing cars, then they are far less likely to do business with them regardless of how good their batteries are.

It's still a terrible idea. For the most part, the other car companies won't innovate unless they have competition. Tesla is far more likely to create real change by existing as a car company than they are by existing as a parts company.

Re:Why can't it be both? (3, Informative)

profplump (309017) | about 5 months ago | (#47020657)

If they make good batteries and sell them at a reasonable price, other will buy them. Take a look at say, projector LCD panels -- Epson makes essentially all of them, but you can buy projectors with a wide variety of designs from a number of manufacturers. And that's hardly the only example.

Re:Why can't it be both? (5, Funny)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 5 months ago | (#47020689)

I actually understand his point. If Tesla just makes batteries for other companies, then they don't see Tesla as competition. If Tesla's also producing cars, then they are far less likely to do business with them regardless of how good their batteries are.

Yeah, that would be like Apple buying chips from, say, Samsung. Ain't gonna happen.

Re:Why can't it be both? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020747)

Can't tell if sarcasm or not, but just in case...

http://www.cnet.com/news/apples-a7-processor-in-the-iphone-5s-is-made-by-samsung/

Re:Why can't it be both? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020617)

Even if Tesla becomes the best and largest car battery manufacturer in the world doesn't mean they can't make cars as well.

IMHO somebody's being paid by the other car manufacturers to steer Tesla away from making cars.

Then again, the "low-cost" electric cars sure aren't coming from Tesla any time soon, so I don't really care.

Or neither. Rumor has it, Elon Musk is pouring his time and money into his car company because he is a Tesla-humping turbonerd who wants to win enough public support to finally have Edison, NJ renamed to "I Fucking Hate Edison Because He Shit On Tesla, NJ". He is in league with Matthew Inman. When Tesla's name is restored to the prominence they believe it deserves, they will finally unveil their secret moon colony with room enough for exactly as many tesla-lovers populate the internet, and move there.

I say we go for it. Get them the fuck out of here.

Re:Why can't it be both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020709)

And furthermore, DC > AC

Re:Why can't it be both? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47020683)

The natural reason it can't be both is that there is only so much invest-able time and capital on the CEO's part.

Re:Why can't it be both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020829)

Just because it's being reported doesn't mean it's a conspiracy. A bond trader made a remark.

I highly doubt the car companies would be so forthright in trying to undermine Tesla when they have a plethora of other options such as pressuring states to ban Tesla from selling factory direct to consumer (like in NJ).

Make batteries? (4, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | about 5 months ago | (#47020519)

I was under the impression that Tesla vehicles used banks of off-the-shelf 18650 Li-ion batteries. Panasonic is their current supplier if I recall. Even their proposed battery plant in the southwest is really a place for Panasonic to manufacture batteries for Tesla. Yes, they package them well and I'm sure they have some great controls and associated hardware and software, but is there really something groundbreaking about their batteries specifically? They already make a powertrain for Toyota - a move that hasn't produced a fraction of the buzz and money as their own vehicles. Not sure I understand this suggestion.

Re:Make batteries? (-1, Troll)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 5 months ago | (#47020661)

I was under the impression that Tesla vehicles used banks of off-the-shelf 18650 Li-ion batteries.

Really? Because you read it on a forum? 18650's are great for flashlights but pretty lousy on density/weight. They no doubt use a custom packaging, there would be no point in having a zillion cylinders and all the requisite wasted space and weight inside a single pack for a roadster. Guess we will have to wait until someone finally tears one open (or there is a bad enough crash) to know for sure though.

Re:Make batteries? (2, Insightful)

Carnivore (103106) | about 5 months ago | (#47020779)

They use 18560s.
LMGTFY [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Make batteries? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47020787)

If there's a bad enough crash, don't the batteries catch fire?

Re:Make batteries? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020843)

Um... they have, and they are the 18650's.

Tesla went this route so as to not be locked into a specific or custom battery form factor.

Re:Make batteries? (2)

Carnivore (103106) | about 5 months ago | (#47020835)

The Toyota contract is dying a quiet death; Toyota never wanted an electric car but their fuel cell vehicles weren't ready in time to satisfy California's ZEV requirements.

Parallel activity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020523)

Nope. He should do it with a separate company.

Bad idea (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 5 months ago | (#47020525)

Manufacturing auto batteries should be a low-margin business. They're a commodity. Others can enter the business. Over time, margins will decrease. There's not much brand value. (Who made the battery in your phone?)

Re:Bad idea (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 5 months ago | (#47020579)

Exactly. The closer you are to the end user typically the higher the profit. Microsoft being the exception.

Re: Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020669)

Zero lemon madey case also highly recommend them lol

Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020671)

Was it not the Energizer Bunny?

Wrong. (2)

Slartibartfast (3395) | about 5 months ago | (#47020861)

Who said "car batteries"? If someone came up with a truly revolutionary battery -- say, one that stored 10x what batteries do now -- you could sell them, at great margin, to *everyone*. Cell phones. Tablets. Computers. Cars (a battery 1/5 the size that's more powerful than the old one, and costs the same? Damn straight I'd buy it). Etc.

THAT BEING SAID... I don't see anyone coming up with a revolutionary battery technology. Not even Elon. So I agree with you, but think your rationale was incorrect.

Re:Wrong. (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 5 months ago | (#47020961)

Yeah. You could do that... for fifteen years. And then your patent would expire and you'd be just another company making all the same batteries.

Bad idea especially... (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | about 5 months ago | (#47020881)

agreed.

Especially since then Tesla would be putting all of it's eggs in one basket and in the investing world...that's a big no-no (I'm more amazed that this "bond manager" is even a manager...let alone a bond one).

Plus recent history with A123 Systems [slashdot.org] should also say "no" to the battery-only route.

Re:Bad idea (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47020941)

Manufacturing auto batteries should be a low-margin business.

Just like ink cartridges should be a low-margin business? I think you need to reexamine that statement.

So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020529)

Why not both?

No, But Someone Should (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#47020533)

Why would Tesla stop making cars? They're doing a great job of it, not to mention challenging the status quo when it comes to how Americans buy their cars; heck, if anything we need more companies doing what Tesla is doing, so they stand a better chance in the fight against the heavily entrenched *ADA organizations.

That said, someone should be working on building better batteries, just not them. Maybe a subsidiary.

No (5, Insightful)

Fulminata (999320) | about 5 months ago | (#47020543)

This is an example of why listening to "investors" is a terrible idea. It's like listening to a gambler advise you on how to coach a sports team.

Short term thinking (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | about 5 months ago | (#47020549)

This guy is looking at the market and going "Electric cars are scary, batteries are a sure thing. Ditch the cars and take the safer investment." It's investor thinking, but Musk isn't an investor, he's an inventor. The battery route would probably be good for long slow growth, but it wouldn't revolutionize the world the way he intends to with the cars. It's a riskier position, but one with much bigger potential payoffs. One where he crashes through the stodgy old boys club that is the existing automakers with his disruptive technology and becomes a dominant automaker in the world.

Re:Short term thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020831)

One where he crashes through the stodgy old boys club that is the existing automakers with his disruptive technology and becomes a dominant automaker in the world.
 
The "stodgy old boys club" is already eating his lunch. You're coming off like on of those Tesla fanboys who knows nothing about the greater EV market in total. Anyone out there today could make a long range EV for 90k. The others are shooting for a market that the middle class can actually afford and feel good about.
 
Tesla has a lot of flash but they're bringing little to the table and for every 30 people out there talking about how they're going to buy a Tesla in 5 years only 1 probably will.

Why can't you do both? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47020551)

I don't see why the car business gets in the way of the battery business. There's no shortage of investment capital.

Re:Why can't you do both? (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 5 months ago | (#47020735)

The point is probably because car competitors don't want to buy batteries from a competitor... which is just a fact of life in many areas of industry. Apple probably doesn't want to buy parts from Samsung, etc. But if the product is better than other competitor products, then companies will choose to to buy from Tesla in self interest, if not and someone comes along with a better battery then the battery business was probably a bad exclusive bet anyway.

Re:Why can't you do both? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47020997)

What if they were separate corporations?

They could start a battery company that sells batteries to Tesla. So buying batteries from that company wouldn't be added to Tesla's profits.

Companies spin off portions of themselves all the time.

That said, I'm hesitant to push Tesla around or suggest what they should or shouldn't do. The pressure for batteries has been strong for over a decade and yet we have yet to see improved batteries hit the market. Even Tesla's batteries are little better then laptop batteries. If the many battery companies the world over can't come up with something better I don't see why we think Tesla's battery factory is suddenly going to a world better.

So far as I've seen, Tesla's batteries are nothing special. Its the same stuff. They're saving some money by doing it in house. That's all.

No (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020559)

Enough people are interested in Tesla's vehicles that Musk probably won't take Gundlach's advice. Should he?

A car can be a great premium product. People pay not just for objective functionality but for style and image, and they form loyalties that can be milked for cash. Batteries are a commodity. Someone comes out with a better battery tomorrow and all your customers switch (your customers being cold calculating businessmen wanting an edge for their product that the battery slots into). If someone come out with a better car tomorrow then a whole bunch of people stick with what they know / love and you have time to adapt. Tesla have done the hard work of creating an image. It would be insane to ditch it to move into a commodity market.

Don't remove the inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020587)

75% of innovators use frustration of not having the right "thing" for their needs for innovating something new and spectacular. Without Tesla Motor Co, would Elon have that source of innovation anymore?

What if Ford were to make a 100MPH Engine? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020597)

When you are a leader in a broad field like Automotive, you have a competitive edge because of your technology. If Ford was to make a 100MPG engine that still had 150HP, everyone would want it. But, Ford would likely just want to sell their own cars because the car is a technology platform. The engine is important, but, it only works when combined with the final product.

Tesla is building a battery factory. Can/Will they sell them to others? Who knows. $5k after market upgrade to your Leaf to get you 200 miles on a charge? Sounds like a cool post-market, but, who needs to sell the batteries to Nissan when you are making less than your own demand.

I hate it when Bond and Hedge fund guys try to say what a company should do. All they are doing is trying to hedge their own funds by ensuring their other holding benefit.

What if Ford were to make a 100MPH Engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020691)

I think most Fords do 100MPH at this point. It's the future!

Yo Gillette (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 months ago | (#47020623)

Stop making those stupid low margin shaving handles and FOCUS SOLELY on cartridges!!!!

Re:Yo Gillette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020889)

I guess that would be relevant if Gillette was making some sort of laser cartridge that was the future of shaving.

Re:Yo Gillette (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#47020981)

I bet they could sell a "Terminator" or "Cylon" shaver for a bit of a premium. This sucker will fly.

When someone is exceptionally stupid..... (2)

tommyatomic (924744) | about 5 months ago | (#47020647)

You should always ask what else do they do a complete shite job on.

Jeffrey Gundlach has a god give right to be a complete uninformed tool and has every right to loudly make proclamations that reveal this fact to all that hear him.

Just as I have every right to take his outburst of stupid as a warning.

I need to contact my portfolio manager ASAP and make sure Bond manager Jeffrey Gundlach isnt closely associated with anything in my portfolio.

Unless they're really good at making batteries, no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020655)

And I mean good in the sense of making great batteries, not just many batteries. Economies of scale are nice, but they're really no match for better technology. You have to be great not despite having economies of scale but because to have economies of scale, you have to make a huge investment. Invest in less than optimal technology and you're toast.

Hasn't he seen the documentary? (3)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 5 months ago | (#47020667)

In Who Killed The Electric Car? (why, btw, is not a Michale Moore documentary, nor is it particularly political), the only group that blame was not assigned to was the battery industry. The producers found plenty of blame to go around with pretty well everyone else you can imagine. If Musk were to switch Tesla to making only batteries, the industry could fall out from underneath him - and then he would have nobody to sell his batteries to.

Sounds like a suicidally bad idea.

Let's run the same story every 3 weeks (1)

Tony Wright (2837667) | about 5 months ago | (#47020685)

Just change the words around a little and repost.

The prob with Bond Managers and analysts/pundits (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 5 months ago | (#47020697)

Being crazy isn't a handicap. If you make insane predictions that don't come true, people forget. If an insane, unsupported claim turns out to be true, they look like geniuses.

Re:The prob with Bond Managers and analysts/pundit (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 5 months ago | (#47020975)

cf. pseudoscience

Batteries have no "moat". (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 5 months ago | (#47020717)

Just earlier this weak, they invented a new battery technology in japan that is believed to allow at least 3000 charge/recharge cycles with under 1% degradation-- i.e. a battery that will last longer than the car it's in.

As a battery company, tesla could be wiped out over night.

As a car maker- they have a "moat". It's a weak moat-- other car makers could come out with electric cars in the same slot. But Tesla's styling is pretty cool. It's likely to retain it's customers going forward unless newer electric cars were significantly better looking or had markedly superior battery life (aka lower cost of ownership).

Dumbest advice ever (1)

illestov (945762) | about 5 months ago | (#47020721)

Elon , let me tell you how to be successful, you see these batteries, they are like in everything, forget your hopeless idea with electric cars and spaceships and solar panels, join the crowd and make batteries! sigh what a fool

Or.... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47020729)

This Jeffrey guy is being told by the car deals who hate Tesla to try and convince him to get out of their market because he's fighting their laws.

Short term: No. Long term: yes (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 months ago | (#47020733)

Here's the thing... Tesla doesn't sell cars, they sell California ZEV credits to other car companies. (Kind of like how GM wasn't a car company, they were a health care company for retired auto workers that made money by flipping auto loans and sometimes made cars). If the ZEV credits dry up (changes in the law or other companies producing a popular ZEV vehicle), they're fucked and will need to find another line of business, ie manufacture batteries and operate charging stations.

Re:Short term: No. Long term: yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020859)

I sort of agree with this. By selling electric cars, Tesla can force the trend in the market so the auto companies will have to follow suit. Once the auto companies have bought on the investment, then Tesla can get out of the auto industry and be a provider for the batteries. If Tesla gets out of the auto making business now, the trend will fall through and so will the battery business.

I wonder what this bond trader's portfolio has... (1)

amosh (109566) | about 5 months ago | (#47020749)

Let me guess - he invests heavily in more traditional auto manufacturers.

Qualcomm is an interesting evolutionary example (1)

davef1999 (904391) | about 5 months ago | (#47020753)

Qualcomm's initial strategy was to make complete systems, analogous to Tesla's decision to design, manufacture and sell cars. Qualcomm started out making complete mobile network systems (based on cdma technology), and then slowly, step-by-step exited those other businesses to become the semiconductor supplier that it is today. Qualcomm once sold handsets and cellular network gear. Now it just designs and sells chips. I suspect that Tesla's path may be similar: it makes both cars and components today, because the toughest function is to engineer the entire system. Once the system design settles down in a few years Tesla may decide to sell batteries, or more likely batteries + power system controllers + engines, to lots of other carmakers. And in turn decide that the component business is better than the 'car' business. Gundlach may ultimately be right, but he is most certainly way, way too early for that strategy change.

Batteries are *HARD*. (3, Insightful)

Slartibartfast (3395) | about 5 months ago | (#47020757)

I think Elon Musk is awesome, but I haven't seen him do anything, battery-wise, that makes me think he's got anything revolutionary up his sleeve. If he does, I completely agree with her -- or at least make it a separate company to do "battery stuff." But otherwise, getting rid of the "Motors" in Tesla to go and try to be Yet Another Company Trying To Make Batteries Better is probably a fruitless endeavor.

No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020773)

Betteridge's Law at it's finest.

WELL THANK GOODNESS... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020781)

.. finally, some fucking "bond manager" had to come out and tell Elon Musk what HAS to happen.

It's not always all about the money. (3, Insightful)

unimacs (597299) | about 5 months ago | (#47020783)

Hmmm. Which is more fun? Making spaceships and awesome cars or making batteries for somebody else's ho-hum cars.

Terrible Idea (1)

bmajik (96670) | about 5 months ago | (#47020789)

Nothing drives engineering like a tangible end goal that is big and easy to understand. Want to make batteries better? Have an engineering target that says what size car they have to fit in...

Tesla makes a better car than a "normal" car. It is faster than almost every sport sedan. It has excellent styling, excellent practicality (seating for 7!), very good handling.

Even if it weren't a pure EV, it would be an interesting contender.

But hey! It's also an EV. It is completely quiet. It doesn't need oil changes, or coolant flushes, or gasoline. You don't have to use the brake pedal anywhere near as much.

Tesla was the first company to make an electric car in my lifetime that wasn't a total piece of shit garbage joke. Not only did they instead make a _credible_ car, they made a car that kicks the ass of nearly other car. Their car is quieter than a Mercedes, out accelerates most BMWs, and handles better any other American sedan.

Why in the world should they stop making cars? The car they've made is better than most of the competition, AND is a game changer.

And, they're selling more of them than they can build. The model S is around 2 month lead time. The Model X already has 6 months of deposits.

I don't want Tesla to make batteries. I want everyone else to figure out how to make Telsas.

Re:Terrible Idea (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 5 months ago | (#47020885)

To be fair, it's quite easy to build a car that handles better than an American sedan.

Who would need all those batteries? (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about 5 months ago | (#47020797)

They want to build the gigafactory to supply batteries for their own cars as well as have extra production to sell to other car manufacturers. If they stop making electric cars, then it would seem the need of a gigafactory would be reduced and a regular old factory would be enough. Besides, the other car manufacturers already have their battery suppliers, so who is to say that the new Tesla battery factory would succeed in the market if they had to rely on taking business away from the other battery suppliers to stay in business. Sometimes I don't understand how some people think or fail to think.

He wants to make cars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020799)

> ... to persuade him to take the battery-only route.

Uh, why? The guy wants to make cars; why shouldn't he? If Mr. Wall St. Business Analyst doesn't like the business model, nobody's twisting his arm to invest.

And on the other hand, Levi Strauss didn't get rich digging for gold.

Might Help Broader EV Industry, More Secure Future (1)

Koreantoast (527520) | about 5 months ago | (#47020805)

Lot of people are dismissing this, but I think there is sound logic to what they're saying for two reasons. One, by becoming a purely focused battery manufacturer, Musk becomes platform agnostic and will have a much better chance of licensing his tech and selling his batteries to all auto manufacturers. This could benefit the broader electric vehicle industry as the technology is now available to dozens of well established manufacturers who can produce vehicles on multiple orders of magnitude greater than Tesla could possibly reach in a decade or more. If they do it right, they could make a huge amount of money this route, dominating a key control point in the electric vehicle.

The second thing is that they will continue to be highly constrained in their manufacturing capabilities for a while. I love Tesla and would love to own one of their vehicles, but the company's production system will take at least a decade or two to even get anywhere close to the order of magnitude that more mainstream auto manufacturers are able to make. This may not matter much if you want your Tesla to be unique, but if your goal is to see the mass deployment of electric vehicles in the near future, organically scaling up Tesla may not necessarily be the way to go.

All that being said, I HIGHLY doubt Musk will go in this direction. His MO at other companies has always been platform oriented with tight vertical integration, and I don't see that changing anytime in the near future, not with him at the helm.

Someone wants to short TSLA? (2)

rsborg (111459) | about 5 months ago | (#47020815)

Seriosly this is the same kind of trollish bullshit rhetoric I expect from Wall Street - just like "Apple should license OSX so non-Macs can run OSX".

How do you think Tesla makes money? Where are the margins (not just current, but future)? Why should a company divest itself of a technical leadership role in a key and profitable market?

More to the point, why do I care what this clown Gundlach says? and why is this drivel posted on Slashdot?

Bond Manglers... (1)

technical_maven (2756487) | about 5 months ago | (#47020823)

Never forget that a good portion of "Bond Managers" are idiots when ti comes to the real world...

Considering their batteries are such shit... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020863)

and only Republicans will actually spend money on such garbage, sure. Do it. They'll be out of business within a month. Republicans aren't smart enough to buy and install batteries so they will not sell any of them. The people they pander to are complete morons.

Who the fuck cares? (2)

sootman (158191) | about 5 months ago | (#47020873)

I've met with Jeffrey Gundlach to tell him how I think he should run his business. I suggested he quit trading bonds and become the guy who takes a highlighter to your receipt at Walmart.

Elong Musk is doing just fine without your help, thankyouverymuch. [google.com]

Figures (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 5 months ago | (#47020919)

Sounds about like what kind of boxed-in thinking I'd expect from a bond manager. Maybe he could stretch himself a little and suggest golf carts.

Tesla's success in making very good cars surprised me, given how many failed to build cars in the past. But there's an important difference—most of those who failed were originally from the automaking industry. Looks like having that experience is more of a negative than a positive.

Great Idea (1)

russotto (537200) | about 5 months ago | (#47020951)

This is like going to Volvo and saying... hey, your cars use a lot of ball bearings, why don't you give up cars and make ball bearings instead?

The Worth of Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47020991)

Most of the value of Tesla is their battery management technology, not their battery manufacturing technology.

Betteridge says No. (1)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#47021015)

Tesla creates demand for batteries. Until recently, they have been only consumers of battery production. But they have been the largest. If they stop making electric cars, what happens to the demand? And who would invest in battery R&D and production if demand drops?

Its simple economics. Who is this Gundlach guy anyway? I want to short his portfolio. I'll be rich.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?